Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

NHL finger-wagging over wagging fingers

Categories: Boston Bruins, Stanley Cup Final, VAN vs. BOS, Vancouver Canucks

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Milan Lucic (1)7 of the Boston Bruins taunts Alex Burrows (14) of the Vancouver Canucks during Game 3 on Monday in Boston, Massachusetts. (Harry How/Getty Images) Milan Lucic (1)7 of the Boston Bruins taunts Alex Burrows (14) of the Vancouver Canucks during Game 3 on Monday in Boston, Massachusetts. (Harry How/Getty Images)
By Tim Wharnsby, CBC Sports

The NHL wants to see an end to the finger-in-the-face shenanigans that have infiltrated the Stanley Cup Final.

NHL senior vice-president Mike Murphy scolded the two teams about the on-ice mischief and planned to further discuss the problem with Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis and his Boston Bruins counterpart Peter Chiarelli as well as opposing head coaches prior to Game 4 of the series that the Canucks lead 2-1.

"We will deal with the issues of the series, the chippyness that's going on," Murphy said. "Kris King is in charge of the series. We've addressed it. We've addressed it with the teams as early as this morning. I will be speaking with both general managers and coaches before the day's over about what we are seeing, the garbage that is going on, some of the issues."

In the series opener, Canucks forward Alex Burrows bit the gloved index finger of Boston centre Patrice Bergeron. Burrows had a hearing with Murphy, but there was no suspension.

In Game 2, Vancouver's third-line centre Maxim Lapierre mocked Bergeron by sticking his finger inches away from his mouth. On Monday night, in Boston's 8-1 thumping over the Canucks, veteran Bruins right wing Mark Recchi delivered a similar taunt to Lapierre, and Boston's Milan Lucic also pushed his finger in the face of Burrows.

A total of 145 penalty minutes were called in Game 3, 75 to the Bruins. It was the second highest penalty minute total in a final. The most was a 176-penalty-minute game in the 1986 final between the Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames.

Fan complaints

Several Vancouver fans complained about the abuse they were subjected to inside TD Garden on Monday. But Bruins forward Milan Lucic, a Vancouver native, had a story of his own when asked about the way some Canucks fans were treated.

"Its funny they say that because after Game 1, people [in Vancouver] were throwing peanuts and popcorn at my grandparents," Lucic said.

"That's the lowest you can get. They're in their 60s. And my uncle and his uncle, had beer poured on their seats. I've said it before, these are two passionate fan bases. There really is no difference between the two cities."

Previous final suspensions

When Vancouver defenceman Aaron Rome was suspended four games for his hit on Boston forward Nathan Horton, it was the longest of its kind in Stanley Cup final history. The other three altercations that warranted supplementary discipline were only one-game suspensions.

*Detroit's Jiri Fisher for a crosscheck on Carolina's Tommy Westlund, June 10, 2002.

*Calgary's Ville Nieminen for a hit from behind on Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier, May 31, 2004.

*Anaheim's Chris Pronger for his headshot on Ottawa's Dean McAmmond, June 4, 2007.

If the jacket fits


The Bruins have a tradition that started this season of awarding a vintage team jacket to the player of the game, but only when Boston wins. The idea was hatched by veteran defenceman Andrew Ference, who purchased the prized possession off e-bay, and the ritual started when the Bruins were on a West Coast swing earlier this season.

Horton had won the jacket after he scored the winner in the East final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and part of the custom is for the previous winner to hand the jacket to its new temporary owner.

"He's the one that had the jacket before and he wasn't there to give it out," Bruins veteran Michael Ryder said. "We just let him keep it there. It wasn't right for someone else to give it out when he had it the last time. We all talked about it, so it was everybody."

Ryder likely will take Horton's spot on the Bruins first line and rookie Tyler Seguin will probably draw back into the lineup and assume Ryder's place on the third line.